Tipping a waiter is more of an art than a science. With so many different variables, patrons often times have trouble finding that sweet spot between what’s frugal and what’s overly generous. We’re here to help make that easier. This post offers a couple guidelines to use when deciding how much to tip a waiter.
Tips Depend on Quality of Service
Tipping 15-20% of your bill’s pre-tax total is standard. Giving more than 20% is warranted when the service is truly exceptional. Tipping less than 15% should be a very rare occurrence, reserved for when your waiter is rude or incompetent. And if service really is that poor, you might want to talk to the manager so it can be corrected.
Tip $1 per Alcoholic Beverage
Since alcohol is sold at marked up prices, a few large margaritas can run up quite a bill. But patrons aren’t expected to tip 15-20% on each of those drinks. Those percentages are more geared toward food. So when tipping for alcoholic beverages, leave $1 per drink ordered and don’t include the drink prices in your pre-tax calculation.
Large Parties Don’t Get Discounts
It’s common practice for large parties to spend several hours at restaurants. Naturally, this leads to some pricey bills. Sometimes these parties are so surprised by their massive bills that tips become afterthoughts. And the waiter who spent all night focusing on one table is drastically under-compensated. This is a big issue for servers, and it’s why automatic gratuities are becoming more popular. But while automatic gratuities solve one issue, they have their own set of problems.
Know the Local Customs
Every country has a different custom when it comes to tipping. For instance, places like China, Australia, and Switzerland are just a few locations where people aren’t expected to tip at all. In fact, some waiters might even interpret a tip as rude! So always research tipping etiquette before visiting a new country. It’ll not only prevent potential awkwardness, but it can also save you some hard-earned money!
Written by J. Vigotsky